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Volume 5 | Issue 1 | Winter 2018

Minister's Message

Hon. Melanie Mark, Minister for Advanced Education and Skills Training

Happy New Year to You and Your family!

It was great to give a shout out to all our apprentices during Apprenticeship Recognition Week (November 5 – 11). I introduced two young apprentices from Victoria to the legislature and got to put on a hard hat and meet women Electrician apprentices at Brentwood Town Centre in Burnaby. 

A highlight from apprenticeship week was seeing how much the builders, fixers and innovators of our future are gaining from their apprenticeships in a range of industries. 

In my visits, I also met with teachers,

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Happy New Year to You and Your family!

It was great to give a shout out to all our apprentices during Apprenticeship Recognition Week (November 5 – 11). I introduced two young apprentices from Victoria to the legislature and got to put on a hard hat and meet women Electrician apprentices at Brentwood Town Centre in Burnaby. 

A highlight from apprenticeship week was seeing how much the builders, fixers and innovators of our future are gaining from their apprenticeships in a range of industries. 

In my visits, I also met with teachers, supervisors, employers and ITA representatives who were proud to be part of a well-oiled machine that passes on knowledge and wisdom to apprentices. They are working together to develop trades professionals who are able to access good-paying jobs. 

Our government is working to improve opportunities for all apprentices. Implementing effective apprenticeship ratios for all government-funded infrastructure projects will help to ensure BC is training the workforce for tomorrow.

Our government looks forward to continuing to work with trades training partners such as the Industry Training Authority, unions, employers, high schools, students and our post-secondary institutions. 

Keep on creating, building and fixing.

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CEO Message

Apprenticeship is at the Core of BC Trades: Last Year, Now and Into the Future

It’s hard to imagine a world without tradespeople.  Who would build your home? Who would maintain the infrastructure? Have a look around you, you’d be hard-pressed to find something that a tradesperson hasn’t had their hands on. It makes you realize that, even though the essential work of tradespeople surrounds us everywhere we go, we seldom take the time to acknowledge the sheer extent of how it shapes and influences our lives every day.

As we celebrate a

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Apprenticeship is at the Core of BC Trades: Last Year, Now and Into the Future

It’s hard to imagine a world without tradespeople.  Who would build your home? Who would maintain the infrastructure? Have a look around you, you’d be hard-pressed to find something that a tradesperson hasn’t had their hands on. It makes you realize that, even though the essential work of tradespeople surrounds us everywhere we go, we seldom take the time to acknowledge the sheer extent of how it shapes and influences our lives every day.

As we celebrate a New Year, it is important that we look back at the strides we have made to develop and build awareness about the importance the skilled trades have on our province and growing economy. As we know, many of the industries that keep our province operating require the work of countless talented tradespeople; and this past year, the Industry Training Authority (ITA) had many initiatives in place to encourage people’s interest in the trades, support their apprenticeship pathway and encourage certification.

In November, ITA hosted Youth Day 2017, an event designed to enhance connections for young people, educators, employers, industry and other trades stakeholders. Participants were encouraged to think outside-the-box about ways they can work together to improve apprentice enrollment, retention and continuation in the trades. In 2017, ITA also successfully partnered with the Chamber of Commerce in six communities across the province to host free events aimed at encouraging employers to sponsor apprentices.

Apprenticeship Recognition Week acknowledged apprentices and the important work they do to keep our province up and running. As part of the celebration we held a social media contest and regional recognition initiative to raise awareness about the skilled trades and apprenticeship. The response was overwhelming and very inspirational—apprentices are, and continue to be, filled with pride and do such great work!

Finally, we would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Shelley Gray on her promotion to Chief Operating Officer (COO) at ITA. Previously, Shelley was the Director of Customer Experience and Industry Relations. In her new position, she will continue to play an important role within our organization to support apprentices and create a world-class training and apprenticeship system for British Columbians now and in the future.

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Regional Spotlight

An Island of Opportunity: The Big Boom on Vancouver Island

While Vancouver Island has historically been thought of as a vacation destination with a tourism-based economy, the area is currently experiencing a boom in trades opportunities.

Doug Podetz, the Apprenticeship Advisor for the North Vancouver Island region, oversees apprentices and employer sponsors in the area. Over the years, Doug has seen the community grow and skilled trades gain more traction on the island.

“There is no shortage of new construction projects starting up, which is in large part fueling this boom,” says Podetz. As a Red Seal

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An Island of Opportunity: The Big Boom on Vancouver Island

While Vancouver Island has historically been thought of as a vacation destination with a tourism-based economy, the area is currently experiencing a boom in trades opportunities.

Doug Podetz, the Apprenticeship Advisor for the North Vancouver Island region, oversees apprentices and employer sponsors in the area. Over the years, Doug has seen the community grow and skilled trades gain more traction on the island.

“There is no shortage of new construction projects starting up, which is in large part fueling this boom,” says Podetz. As a Red Seal millwright and past trades educator, Doug brings three decades of experience working in the trades to his role as ITA’s boots on the ground. “If you’re interested in getting into the skilled trades, now is the time. Local training providers are offering programs to support your in-class learning and employers are available for on-the-job training.”

Currently, Vancouver Island (North) has 2,500 registered employer sponsors and over 3,200 apprentices working in a variety of industries. The recent surge in skilled trades jobs is not only a result of the construction industry, but also due to a continuously growing forestry sector and wealth of new opportunities within the film industry. In fact, Podetz recently worked with the Vancouver Island Film Industry to promote curriculum development for construction apprentices such as Carpenters and Electricians. Apprentices learned how to use their skills to build movie sets to better support the economic growth of the film industry on the island.

Looking to find out more about trades opportunities on Vancouver Island or across BC? Contact ITA’s regional Apprenticeship Advisors for more information, and to find out what resources are available to support your apprenticeship.

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Employer Spotlight

Ask an apprentice: Q&A with Josh Jardine, Steamfitter apprentice

Your skilled trades Ticket can help take your career in any direction you want. That’s why one of ITA’s Champions of Apprenticeship, Ironside Design Manufacturing, a company that has been operating for over 100 years, is such a great advocate for apprenticeship training.

Find out why Stephen Peel, Vice President, Ironside Design Manufacturing, believes in apprenticeship in this video, in which he offers encouraging words for employers and apprentices on how to make the most

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Ask an apprentice: Q&A with Josh Jardine, Steamfitter apprentice

Your skilled trades Ticket can help take your career in any direction you want. That’s why one of ITA’s Champions of Apprenticeship, Ironside Design Manufacturing, a company that has been operating for over 100 years, is such a great advocate for apprenticeship training.

Find out why Stephen Peel, Vice President, Ironside Design Manufacturing, believes in apprenticeship in this video, in which he offers encouraging words for employers and apprentices on how to make the most of their apprenticeships.

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Apprentice Spotlight

Journeyperson Jordan Wolff: Trading on Hard Work

Jordan Wolff, a Red Seal Electrician, works as the Electrical Project Coordinator and Field Manager at Neutron Factory Works, an industrial service contracting company in Delta. He says his choice to work in the trades was a no-brainer. “You’re pretty much guaranteed a job after you complete school,” he says, “especially with so many baby boomers retiring, there are a lot of options for employment.”

As one of many young tradespeople capitalizing on the outflow of skilled workers into retirement, Wolff says his apprenticeship was critical to

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Journeyperson Jordan Wolff: Trading on Hard Work

Jordan Wolff, a Red Seal Electrician, works as the Electrical Project Coordinator and Field Manager at Neutron Factory Works, an industrial service contracting company in Delta. He says his choice to work in the trades was a no-brainer. “You’re pretty much guaranteed a job after you complete school,” he says, “especially with so many baby boomers retiring, there are a lot of options for employment.”

As one of many young tradespeople capitalizing on the outflow of skilled workers into retirement, Wolff says his apprenticeship was critical to his success in the trades: “It was a major learning experience. I learned a lot about myself and my strengths and weaknesses.” He credits ITA for helping him through the process, saying, “ITA provided the platform I needed to complete my apprenticeship. They provide a lot of useful tools to help connect apprentices to different programs.”

Now Wolff says he wants to provide mentorship to more junior members entering the field. “The learning doesn’t end once you finish fourth year,” he says. “Being able to share my experiences is something I enjoy most about my job—it’s important to help develop the junior technicians.”

His advice to others looking to get started in the trades? Don’t over think it. “From my experience, it is the people who show up to work with a positive attitude, friendliness and willingness to learn who are the most successful.”

Find out more about the benefits of sponsoring an apprentice and how you can help tradespeople like Jordan along their apprenticeship pathway.

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Apprentice Spotlight

Apprenticeship Recognition Week: Recognizing Apprentices, Because We Should

For the third year running, the BC government proclaimed the first week of November as Apprenticeship Recognition Week across BC. This recognition marks a time to think about the positive impact apprentices have in our communities.

To celebrate, ITA’s fifteen Apprenticeship Advisors took the opportunity to recognize and applaud local all-star apprentices across the province during Apprenticeship Recognition Week by visiting them at their workplaces. The goal of these visits was to build regional awareness about the importance of apprenticeship, to recognize

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Apprenticeship Recognition Week: Recognizing Apprentices, Because We Should

For the third year running, the BC government proclaimed the first week of November as Apprenticeship Recognition Week across BC. This recognition marks a time to think about the positive impact apprentices have in our communities.

To celebrate, ITA’s fifteen Apprenticeship Advisors took the opportunity to recognize and applaud local all-star apprentices across the province during Apprenticeship Recognition Week by visiting them at their workplaces. The goal of these visits was to build regional awareness about the importance of apprenticeship, to recognize apprentices who are working hard to build careers in the trades and to inspire them to continue their journey towards certification.

ITA also launched the #YourTicket contest on social media to encourage registered apprentices in BC to share their apprenticeship stories. The response was overwhelming and inspiring! With her meaningful entry, Jasmine Brown, a fourth year electrician apprentice from Kelowna, took home the grand prize.

As a mother, Jasmine chose to pursue a career in the skilled trades because it is reliable, consistent, well-paying work that allows her to provide for her daughter. Not only that, but her fascination with the concept of electricity—how to manipulate it, troubleshoot it, and work with it—and the general how-to knowledge she’s gained as an electrician, makes her career choice all the more relevant and meaningful for her.

“When I was considering where to go with my career, I knew that I wanted to do something that was both physically and mentally demanding,” says Jasmine. “I also wanted to gain specialized skills in my career, that would not be phased out by machinery in the future.”

Her advice to anyone thinking about getting their start in the trades: “Be willing to work hard, learn and expect feedback from your supervisor every day. Some days are going to be harder than others as an apprentice, but if you keep a positive attitude on the job, sticking it out will be worth it in the end.”

Read about others like Jasmine, and the steps they are taking to achieve successful skilled trades careers.

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In the News

Former ITA Director of Customer Experience and Industry Relations heads up Operations at ITA

There’s a lot going on in British Columbia, especially as the continued demand for a highly skilled trades system is concerned. That’s why ITA has selected one of its very own, Shelley Gray, former Director of Customer Experience and Industry Relations at ITA, to take on the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO). Shelley tells us about her new role, and what she hopes to achieve.

ITA Trades Talk: What are you responsible for in your new role as COO?

Shelley: I am responsible for ITA’s overall operational strategy related to

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Former ITA Director of Customer Experience and Industry Relations heads up Operations at ITA

There’s a lot going on in British Columbia, especially as the continued demand for a highly skilled trades system is concerned. That’s why ITA has selected one of its very own, Shelley Gray, former Director of Customer Experience and Industry Relations at ITA, to take on the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO). Shelley tells us about her new role, and what she hopes to achieve.

ITA Trades Talk: What are you responsible for in your new role as COO?

Shelley: I am responsible for ITA’s overall operational strategy related to customer service, industry relations, training delivery, program standards activities and Indigenous Initiatives. This is in addition to working towards ITA’s vision to create a world-class training and apprenticeship system for British Columbia.

ITA Trades Talk: What are your focus areas? What do you hope to achieve?

Shelley: It is my goal to bring operational teams together, strengthen relationships and lead change and innovation among trades stakeholders. I want to ensure ITA remains customer focused, keeping apprentices, employers and equity-seeking groups front-of-mind by removing obstacles and barriers to apprenticeship completion.

ITA Trades Talk: Why are the skilled trades a strong career choice?

Shelley: I strongly believe the trades provide a bright future for those who pursue them, and are also integral to the economic development of the province. Throughout my career at ITA, it has become obvious to me that having a skilled trade provides a strong base to build a career in this province (and across Canada). The skilled trades are what build BC, and in return, they offer many great career opportunities now and in the future.

ITA Trades Talk: Why are you passionate about the skilled trades?

Shelley: Although I haven’t worked in the skilled trades directly, I have become very passionate about the trades and the work that tradespeople do since I started with ITA in 2013. There is a real tangible benefit to the work that tradespeople often reference, which is something that I love and get to help them achieve. People’s passion for their trade kind of rubs off on you. It’s a great feeling.

Find out more about ITA's senior leadership team and Shelley Gray

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In the News

Pan-Canadian Harmonization Initiative: Update

BC is now into the second phase of participation in the pan-Canadian initiative to harmonize trades across provinces and territories, bringing together industry, labour, government and training providers to create the common standards that will enhance labour mobility for tradespersons. Over the past 12 months, BC has successfully launched harmonized Red Seal trades for Carpenter, Ironworker, Metal Fabricator, Mobile Crane Operator and Welder.

One of the great things about harmonization is that apprentices are able to move across the country and seamlessly continue with their

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Pan-Canadian Harmonization Initiative: Update

BC is now into the second phase of participation in the pan-Canadian initiative to harmonize trades across provinces and territories, bringing together industry, labour, government and training providers to create the common standards that will enhance labour mobility for tradespersons. Over the past 12 months, BC has successfully launched harmonized Red Seal trades for Carpenter, Ironworker, Metal Fabricator, Mobile Crane Operator and Welder.

One of the great things about harmonization is that apprentices are able to move across the country and seamlessly continue with their training in different jurisdictions. Employers will see the benefits of improved mobility through their ability to attract and recruit apprentices and journeypersons from other provinces with equivalent competencies and knowledge. Training providers will also see the benefit of being able to enroll cross-jurisdictional apprentices in their programs in a more seamless manner as the levels and sequencing of training become consistent in harmonized trades.

Achieving harmonization requires significant cooperation from all stakeholders and a willingness to find common ground. ITA staff along with industry, labour, government and training provider representatives have been at the national tables working to make this happen, ensuring the BC perspective is represented.

Learn more about the pan-Canadian Harmonization Initiative.

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In the News

ITA tours BC to Encourage Employers to Hire Apprentices

With 80 per cent of skilled trades training taking place in the workplace, employer sponsors play a large role in successful apprenticeships. As part of our efforts to connect more with potential and current employer sponsors, ITA partnered with the BC Chamber of Commerce to host six regional events across the province. The events focused on raising awareness about the benefits of hiring apprentices and sharing success stories from local employers.

ITA worked with regional Chambers of Commerce in Campbell River, Vernon, Prince Rupert, Nelson, Whistler, and Dawson Creek to invite

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ITA tours BC to Encourage Employers to Hire Apprentices

With 80 per cent of skilled trades training taking place in the workplace, employer sponsors play a large role in successful apprenticeships. As part of our efforts to connect more with potential and current employer sponsors, ITA partnered with the BC Chamber of Commerce to host six regional events across the province. The events focused on raising awareness about the benefits of hiring apprentices and sharing success stories from local employers.

ITA worked with regional Chambers of Commerce in Campbell River, Vernon, Prince Rupert, Nelson, Whistler, and Dawson Creek to invite local employer sponsors and community members to participate in panel discussions on the benefits of apprenticeship for apprentices and employers alike. Attendees walked away with new connections and information on how to engage with apprentices, and where to find the right resources to help them navigate successful apprenticeships.

Check out more photos from the events, and learn about the benefits of sponsoring an apprentice.

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Youth Initiatives

Youth Day: Thinking Big to Improve Apprenticeships

ITA’s 13th annual Youth Day conference was held on November 22, 2017 in Richmond, and brought together 200 educators, employers, and industry representatives. The conference objective was for participants to share best practices and discuss ways they can work together to improve enrollment in youth trades training programs and how to make better connections between school districts and employers.

At the conference, recipients of the 2nd annual Youth Work in Trades Performance Awards were also announced. The awards recognized school districts in six regions across BC with

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Youth Day: Thinking Big to Improve Apprenticeships

ITA’s 13th annual Youth Day conference was held on November 22, 2017 in Richmond, and brought together 200 educators, employers, and industry representatives. The conference objective was for participants to share best practices and discuss ways they can work together to improve enrollment in youth trades training programs and how to make better connections between school districts and employers.

At the conference, recipients of the 2nd annual Youth Work in Trades Performance Awards were also announced. The awards recognized school districts in six regions across BC with the highest registration in the ITA Youth Work in Trades Programs.

The award includes $5,000 in additional funding to assist the school district with the development of the Youth Work in Trades program. Certificates of Recognition will be presented to the Youth Work in Trades Performance Awards recipient school districts in the coming months.

Find out more about this year’s Youth Day conference and some of the key takeaways.

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Meet B.C.'s Champions of Apprenticeship

Today's youth have an array of career options to choose from, but they also face the perception that the skilled trades are not the most desirable career choice. In order to keep our construction and other skilled labour sectors robust and growing, we must be proactive in presenting the trades as a desirable career option for our youth.

Have your say

Trades Talk strives to report on the issues and challenges that matter to you. We want to hear your solutions, best practices and success stories. We would also appreciate your feedback on Trades Talk and any suggestions you have. Email your comments to tradestalk@itabc.ca.